Monday, March 20, 2017

inspire me tag

Coming to you from Liz @ Out of Coffee, Out of Mind is the inspire me tag. Thanks Liz!

1) What is one of the most inspiring things for you?

I've been inspired by various things and they don't fit into one particular category well. Sorry to be vague. But that's how it is. 


2) Where do you look for inspiration?

Inspiration comes to those who don't look for it.

Seriously though, I'm never looking for it when I get it. Like when I discovered Oddball, I was hanging up clothes in the backyard [obviously, my brain was five million miles away].

 Rocky and Oddball (pst, Rocky's the one in the plaid):

3) When and where does inspiration tend to hit you?

*cue the various kinds of inspiration mentioned in #1*

So the weird idea was first inspired by this tv series called The Cape. I really enjoyed it, but it died after the first season. The weird idea came from a single scene in one of the latter episodes [which is strangely unrelated to the plot and characters, but there's inspiration for you: impossibly irrelevant]. Also, I wanted to write in first person present tense. And I challenged myself to write scenes that most people would place italics but, of course, with no italics. [I see you rolling your eyes. Stop that.] I had a small fascination with photographic memories and wanted to experiment with writing a character who had one.


I got ideas for this character who loves coffee while drinking coffee and searching through pinterest.



On holidays, my family makes baked oysters, so while I was eating a lunch comprised solely of leftover oyster goodness, this amazing wonderful scene and a bunch of characters hit me in the face.

So the protagonist's name is Oyster. Ok, maybe that sounds lame. But it's not! It shall be awesome because now it actually has some semblance of plot. *ahem*


The Sighting of the Albinos comes from challenging myself to write a dragon story without saying the word "dragon." [In retrospect, this is not particularly difficult as any well-read fantasy lover will know that the words "reptile" and "wings" will likely indicate a dragon.]

Also, writing myself into corners always tends to inspire me to write my way out. I love writing myself into corners [not that I do it on purpose]. It gives me a problem to solve, and my whole world becomes writing.

To sum up, having a problem or challenge to solve keeps me more engaged or inspired to write. Also, food. Having food or coffee does the trick too.

4) What's the first thing you do when inspiration strikes?

Well, considering that I'm usually not expecting inspiration, sometimes I don't recognize it for what it is. I'm the idiot who'll awkwardly hold inspiration in my hands and oo and ah wondering what the heck it is. Usually, it grows and rages at me until I finally write the idea down. 


5) What is the most inspiring song/book/website/etc. that you've found?

Switchfoot is eternally inspirational.

 I recently read Grettir's Saga, and Norse humor rocks.

The Mentalist. Yeah.

Any book or show that has good banter.
Um, the dictionary can be wondrously inspirational.

 *cough* mischief:

6) What's one piece of advice you'd give to people who are struggling with inspiration?

So yeah, I'm totally going to steal Liz's answer. 

 I'm going farther:

Inspiration is not everything. Actually, it's hardly anything. When I read back on my writing, the best words came out of those hard places where I didn't want to write because I didn't have the words. But I wrote anyway [of course I never write stuff like "they did things and drank coffee and Oddball had a cold" haha, ha, stop looking at me like that].

Here's one of my favorite quotes that's sorta, but not really related. I'm not even going to interpret it. Just do with it whatever you will. It's by James Scott Bell: "Talent is overrated. The ability to get tough, stick with it, and produce words beats lazy literary giftedness every time."

Inspiration is such a fickle thing. It's not something that's meant to be sought or waited upon. It just happens, and if so, then that's great. But if not, we carry on and write relentlessly, yes?


Where do you get inspiration from? What do you do with it? And what is one of your favorite inspirational moments?


  1. That first picture is so pretty! And I agree, inspiration always seems to come when I'm not looking for it.

    I love your attitude on writing yourself into corners. But I feel like that's probably what makes the most interesting books and scenes. Like, you can tell when things in a book just happen too easily that the author manipulated things and took the easy way out. But when, as an author, you at first can't even figure out how a character is going to get out of a situation or something, then the readers won't either, and neither will the characters, and it'll end up feeling more exciting and authentic.

    I love that James Scott Bell quote!

  2. Pinterest is dangerous. I fell into the Pinterest hole the last few nights and let's just say, I'm way behind on my reading as a result.

  3. I get so much inspiration from doing like...nothing. The idea will just HIT.😂 But otherwise I find it hard to pin down when I get inspiration?!? Like generally, for stories, I decide on what I'd like to do. Like "oh I'm going to write a con artist medieval epic fantasy series with two brothers"...and then I wait for inspiration to catch up with that wish.😂 And it'll just come WHENEVER IT LIKES. USUALLY WHEN I WANT TO SLEEP. So that's nice of it.

    I 500% agree that hard work > talent. You can have all the inspiration in the world, but it's meaningless unless you write it down. And you CAN still write amazingly even in less-inspired times. :')

    Looooved this post, Ashley!! :D :D

  4. It's really difficult to look for inspiration. Have you seen the movie Music & Lyrics? Well, just in case you haven't, these people look for song inspirations by going to the city at night. It's funny how the right environment will do wonders for creativity. :) But I definitely agree with you. It's not reliable and pushing through often does the job just fine (+ editing!).

  5. The character that loves drinking coffee an scrolling Pinterest is me.
    The Mentalist inspires me too!

  6. Ooh, it's nice to hear more about your inspiration :) It's crazy how the best ideas come from the randomest places, I've gotten quite a few good ideas from putting away the dishes or something weird.

  7. I've forgotten how much I love reading your blog. I am going to have to be careful not to go AWOL again.


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